Harvard vs. Berkeley for Northern California PI

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )

Securing long-term PI position in the Bay Area?

Harvard
32
63%
Berkeley
19
37%
 
Total votes: 51

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JCougar
Posts: 3175
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Re: Harvard vs. Berkeley for Northern California PI

Postby JCougar » Wed Feb 05, 2014 4:05 pm

AllTheLawz wrote:Honestly, there are very, very few direct entry level routes to PI so what you are really asking about is fellowship opportunities. Tons of fellowship opportunities at H and from there its just about finding a place that is willing to take you on for a year or two. After that, there is a very good chance you will be back in the job market.


Yeah, this is really key. There's almost no paying jobs right out of law school in PI, even if you go to Harvard. They all start with unpaid fellowships that are hopefully funded by your school. In other words, you basically volunteer your time for at least one (but most likely two) years before you can actually latch on in a full-time, paid job.

The problem is that in a lot of these positions, you are classified as a "volunteer" and not as a full-time employee, even if you work 40 hours a week, and thus you do not qualify for 10-year IBR during these years. You have to use your loan deferments instead, and interest accumulates quickly. If you take on sticker debt, you could be adding like $20K/year to your total.

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worldtraveler
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Re: Harvard vs. Berkeley for Northern California PI

Postby worldtraveler » Wed Feb 05, 2014 4:09 pm

JCougar wrote:
AllTheLawz wrote:Honestly, there are very, very few direct entry level routes to PI so what you are really asking about is fellowship opportunities. Tons of fellowship opportunities at H and from there its just about finding a place that is willing to take you on for a year or two. After that, there is a very good chance you will be back in the job market.


Yeah, this is really key. There's almost no paying jobs right out of law school in PI, even if you go to Harvard. They all start with unpaid fellowships that are hopefully funded by your school. In other words, you basically volunteer your time for at least one (but most likely two) years before you can actually latch on in a full-time, paid job.

The problem is that in a lot of these positions, you are classified as a "volunteer" and not as a full-time employee, even if you work 40 hours a week, and thus you do not qualify for 10-year IBR during these years. You have to use your loan deferments instead, and interest accumulates quickly. If you take on sticker debt, you could be adding like $20K/year to your total.


This is true, but any organization that isn't a jerk will let you sign paperwork that you are an employee for the purposes of IBR and LRAP. I just went through this a couple months ago.

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JCougar
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Re: Harvard vs. Berkeley for Northern California PI

Postby JCougar » Wed Feb 05, 2014 4:17 pm

worldtraveler wrote:This is true, but any organization that isn't a jerk will let you sign paperwork that you are an employee for the purposes of IBR and LRAP. I just went through this a couple months ago.


Hmmm...I was told by my school that I wouldn't qualify as "full time" where I am right now, so I can't do IBR. Maybe I should ask my boss about this. Of course, I may be gone from here in another month...I'm waiting on an agency to lift its hiring freeze, as I've been told I'd be hired as soon as they can do this.

I'd love to start tallying down those 120 monthly payments right now. That's three months earlier I get forgiveness in the future.

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worldtraveler
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Re: Harvard vs. Berkeley for Northern California PI

Postby worldtraveler » Wed Feb 05, 2014 4:24 pm

JCougar wrote:
worldtraveler wrote:This is true, but any organization that isn't a jerk will let you sign paperwork that you are an employee for the purposes of IBR and LRAP. I just went through this a couple months ago.


Hmmm...I was told by my school that I wouldn't qualify as "full time" where I am right now, so I can't do IBR. Maybe I should ask my boss about this. Of course, I may be gone from here in another month...I'm waiting on an agency to lift its hiring freeze, as I've been told I'd be hired as soon as they can do this.

I'd love to start tallying down those 120 monthly payments right now. That's three months earlier I get forgiveness in the future.


Full time should be something like 32 or more hours per week. You really just have to talk to your sponsoring organization. Mine doesn't call me an employee, but when I explained why I needed to be called one for this purpose they agreed to change the wording. Most don't want to call fellows employees because they don't want to obligate themselves to give benefits, but you should be able to work around this.

whereskyle
Posts: 713
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 5:37 am

Re: Harvard vs. Berkeley for Northern California PI

Postby whereskyle » Wed Feb 05, 2014 4:39 pm

So, I voted for H. I have nearly a full ride to NU, and while I'm glad to minimize my debt, I think about what I might be missing by not going to HYS every day. Idk if this is reasonable, but it's what I think about. Maybe follow my example and get $$$ out of Berkeley, but if you want to be influential in PI/Gov, it seems that H is the way. Also, worldtraveler has posted about the fact that debt is always debt, regardless of where you come from. If B won't pay to get you there instead of H, then it's an easy choice. If they do pay for you, then that's another choice.

MissouriMisery
Posts: 36
Joined: Mon Feb 03, 2014 3:49 pm

Re: Harvard vs. Berkeley for Northern California PI

Postby MissouriMisery » Wed Feb 05, 2014 7:06 pm

Redamon1 wrote:Why don't you try to set up a few informational interviews with attorneys working in the health organizations you are interested in? I'm not trying to downplay the difficulty of getting a PI job, but not all PI positions are as prestige-driven as, say, a Skadden Fellowship. As you have identified, for most PI hiring, a personal connection to employers (through geographical proximity, externships, summer job) incredibly helpful. Few people, if anyone, on this board will know what your particular prospective employers look for and whether the H brand would trump B's strong placement in NorCal PI.


This is really a great idea. I had not considered this, and will look into it. Thanks!

MissouriMisery
Posts: 36
Joined: Mon Feb 03, 2014 3:49 pm

Re: Harvard vs. Berkeley for Northern California PI

Postby MissouriMisery » Wed Feb 05, 2014 7:10 pm

worldtraveler wrote:
JCougar wrote:
AllTheLawz wrote:Honestly, there are very, very few direct entry level routes to PI so what you are really asking about is fellowship opportunities. Tons of fellowship opportunities at H and from there its just about finding a place that is willing to take you on for a year or two. After that, there is a very good chance you will be back in the job market.


Yeah, this is really key. There's almost no paying jobs right out of law school in PI, even if you go to Harvard. They all start with unpaid fellowships that are hopefully funded by your school. In other words, you basically volunteer your time for at least one (but most likely two) years before you can actually latch on in a full-time, paid job.

The problem is that in a lot of these positions, you are classified as a "volunteer" and not as a full-time employee, even if you work 40 hours a week, and thus you do not qualify for 10-year IBR during these years. You have to use your loan deferments instead, and interest accumulates quickly. If you take on sticker debt, you could be adding like $20K/year to your total.


This is true, but any organization that isn't a jerk will let you sign paperwork that you are an employee for the purposes of IBR and LRAP. I just went through this a couple months ago.


Very good information here, thank you!

It is my impression that the LIPP would cover any PI fellowship regardless of the paperwork. It is really something to think about if the IBR/LRAP programs do not.

You all raise very good points about post-grad fellowships. It is safe to assume that Harvard will lead to more PI fellowship opportunities than Berkeley?

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worldtraveler
Posts: 7662
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Re: Harvard vs. Berkeley for Northern California PI

Postby worldtraveler » Wed Feb 05, 2014 7:58 pm

MissouriMisery wrote:
worldtraveler wrote:
JCougar wrote:
AllTheLawz wrote:Honestly, there are very, very few direct entry level routes to PI so what you are really asking about is fellowship opportunities. Tons of fellowship opportunities at H and from there its just about finding a place that is willing to take you on for a year or two. After that, there is a very good chance you will be back in the job market.


Yeah, this is really key. There's almost no paying jobs right out of law school in PI, even if you go to Harvard. They all start with unpaid fellowships that are hopefully funded by your school. In other words, you basically volunteer your time for at least one (but most likely two) years before you can actually latch on in a full-time, paid job.

The problem is that in a lot of these positions, you are classified as a "volunteer" and not as a full-time employee, even if you work 40 hours a week, and thus you do not qualify for 10-year IBR during these years. You have to use your loan deferments instead, and interest accumulates quickly. If you take on sticker debt, you could be adding like $20K/year to your total.


This is true, but any organization that isn't a jerk will let you sign paperwork that you are an employee for the purposes of IBR and LRAP. I just went through this a couple months ago.


Very good information here, thank you!

It is my impression that the LIPP would cover any PI fellowship regardless of the paperwork. It is really something to think about if the IBR/LRAP programs do not.

You all raise very good points about post-grad fellowships. It is safe to assume that Harvard will lead to more PI fellowship opportunities than Berkeley?


I'm not sure what school funded fellowships Harvard has. I imagine they have a few? For prestigious outside fellowships, both schools are very competitive.

If LIPP is linked with PSLF, then the issue would be the same as with Berkeley. Basically just alert your fellowship sponsor of this issue ahead of time, and if you're being stupid about it then find a different sponsor.

MissouriMisery
Posts: 36
Joined: Mon Feb 03, 2014 3:49 pm

Re: Harvard vs. Berkeley for Northern California PI

Postby MissouriMisery » Wed Feb 05, 2014 8:58 pm

worldtraveler wrote: I'm not sure what school funded fellowships Harvard has. I imagine they have a few? For prestigious outside fellowships, both schools are very competitive.

If LIPP is linked with PSLF, then the issue would be the same as with Berkeley. Basically just alert your fellowship sponsor of this issue ahead of time, and if you're being stupid about it then find a different sponsor.


It is my impression that with the new venture fund there are many fellowships, though hard to determine ratios with such a large class. Any harvard students able to weigh in?

Also, LRAP at HYS are not affiliated with IBR/PSLF, but as your post alludes, that is hopefully of no less bearing as I plan to remain in PI for far more than 10 years. Though it is definitely something to consider. Thanks for keeping the conversation alive, this is truly helping me organize my thoughts and research new aspects of each institution.

MissouriMisery
Posts: 36
Joined: Mon Feb 03, 2014 3:49 pm

Re: Harvard vs. Berkeley for Northern California PI

Postby MissouriMisery » Wed Feb 26, 2014 8:49 pm

Bump because I am bored at work and stressing about this decision.
TLS says H > B even for norcal PI.

Hypothetical: Berkeley matches with 100k scholarship. Thoughts?

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worldtraveler
Posts: 7662
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2007 4:47 am

Re: Harvard vs. Berkeley for Northern California PI

Postby worldtraveler » Wed Feb 26, 2014 10:52 pm

MissouriMisery wrote:Bump because I am bored at work and stressing about this decision.
TLS says H > B even for norcal PI.

Hypothetical: Berkeley matches with 100k scholarship. Thoughts?


Do you have certain places in mind you want to work? You can PM if you want. I wouldn't agree that H is necessarily better.

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Redamon1
Posts: 460
Joined: Wed Jul 14, 2010 2:46 pm

Re: Harvard vs. Berkeley for Northern California PI

Postby Redamon1 » Thu Feb 27, 2014 3:38 am

MissouriMisery wrote:Bump because I am bored at work and stressing about this decision.
TLS says H > B even for norcal PI.

Hypothetical: Berkeley matches with 100k scholarship. Thoughts?


Whatever TLS says... :roll: What did your informational interviews yield? Also, you should go to ASW for both. Very different schools.

MissouriMisery
Posts: 36
Joined: Mon Feb 03, 2014 3:49 pm

Re: Harvard vs. Berkeley for Northern California PI

Postby MissouriMisery » Thu Feb 27, 2014 12:08 pm

Haha don't worry I'm not basing my decision off of the TLS poll, I was just summarizing the thread and asking how scholarships may weigh in. They are very different schools. I have visited both and sat in on classes at both. Loved both.

Haven't heard back from anybody about informational interviews yet. WT I will send you a message with my interests once I am at a computer- this is on a phone. Thanks!




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